How Do You Install A Car Battery? – Step-By-Step Guide

How Do You Install A Car Battery - Featured Image

Replacing your car battery doesn’t have to be a big production that leaves your car in the shop for a week. Batteries get a lot of flak for being toxic and high-voltage, but the fact of the matter is that replacing them is a snap once you know what you’re doing.

In this article, we’ll teach you how to quickly, easily, and safely replace your car battery so that you’ll never need to worry about breaking down on the freeway or having your car not start on a cold morning.

5 Steps To Replace A Car Battery

Step #1 – Prepare Yourself And Your Car

Purchase a new car battery, park your car, turn it off, and make sure you have a clean and dry place to work. Make sure the car is cooled down before you try to replace the battery, or you might accidentally burn yourself.

You should get an old rag or a towel you don’t care about and place it over the front of the inside of your car’s hood so that you can safely remove the battery without damaging any of the components of your engine if it starts to drip.

You may also want to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the battery or potential shocks. Fetch an adjustable wrench while you’re at it.

Now is a good time to fetch your car’s manual. Flip to the section covering the battery and investigate what the configuration of the battery terminals are. Typically, car batteries have a negative ground.

You should also identify the positive and negative terminal locations if it isn’t immediately obvious by looking at the battery.

Step #2 – Remove The Cables

Get your wrench adjusted to the size of the nuts on the battery terminals. Loosen the nut on the negative terminal, which is indicated by a minus sign and likely also the words “NEG.” It may also have a blue color cue.

If your vehicle has a positive ground instead of a negative ground – which is abnormal – you will loosen the positive ground nut first. You don’t need to fully unscrew either of the nuts, loosen them enough to easily remove the wire from the contact.

Once you’ve loosened the groundnut sufficiently, remove the wire. Then, do the same to the other terminal’s nut and wire.

Step #3 – Unscrew The Mounting Bracket And Remove The Old Battery

Here comes the part which can be hard. The battery is mounted inside of a bracket of some kind which holds it in place. While the size of the bracket is standardized, the implementation of the bracket itself is not.

Unscrew the bracket and remove it. You may need to root around in there for quite a while depending on the way that the manufacturer designed it. As you’re unscrewing the bracket, use a magnetic wrench or screwdriver to prevent the screws from dropping out into the engine once they’re loose.

Likewise, make sure that the entire battery assembly isn’t being unscrewed – it would cause the battery to drop and potentially become punctured.

Once the bracket is unscrewed, remove the battery and place it somewhere safe where you won’t trip over it or damage anything if it is leaking.

Step #4 – Seat The New Battery And Hook It Up

Be careful if you see any liquid remaining in the bracket or elsewhere; it might be battery acid, which is very dangerous for you.

If you are feeling brave, you can mop up any liquid or scrape off any corrosion on the bracket, but it isn’t strictly necessary so long as it is in trace amounts. No matter what you do, make sure the bracket is clean enough and dry before seating the new battery.

Lower the new battery into the bracket and retighten the bracket so the battery won’t flop around anywhere while you’re driving. Now, it’s time to seat the wires.

Replace the last wire you removed before the other. You may need to loosen the nuts on the new battery to make the connection. Replace the first wire you removed to complete the process. Tighten up both sets of nuts and close the hood.

A small amount of sparking upon connecting the wires to the contacts is to be expected.

Step #5 – Recycle The Old Battery

Now that you have the new battery in and the old battery out see if your car will start. If so, great! You don’t need to make any adjustments to the battery contacts.

You do still need to recycle the old battery, however. Take it to your local dump or recycling center, and they’ll charge you a small fee to take it off of your hands.

Brett Gordon

The engine behind editing at DigMyRide and the brains behind its build. During the day, Brett is a thirty-something dude from SoCal climbing the corporate ladder, but by night, he spends his time contributing to the online world of automotive tech & trends.